There was jubilation at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat, in Akure, Ondo State, as leaders and members of the party commemorated June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The party members said President Muhammadu Buhari has assuaged the feelings of Nigerians and the people of the Southwest in particular by the action of the federal government on the much awaited honour of the late Chief MKO Abiola believed by many to have won the 1993 presidential election.
Addressing the gathering, the state APC Chairman, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, commended Buhari for naming the Abuja National Stadium after Abiola who was also popularly known as the Africa Pillar of Sport.
He said Buhari had lived up to certain parts of the expectations of Nigerians concerning June 12, 1993, election.
“Nigerians, and particularly the Yoruba race, will not forget the action of President Buhari, who did not only change narrative about June 12 and Nigeria’s democracy, but also named a monument after him. I commend him for doing this,” Adetimehin said.
Ortom Hails Buhari over Democracy Day
Governor Samuel Ortom has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for making the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day a reality and for also immortalising winner of the 1993 presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, by naming the Abuja National Stadium after him.
The governor made this known yesterday through his media aide, Mr. Terver Akase, adding that the honour was long overdue.
Similarly, he congratulated the new President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as their deputies for emerging victorious in the National Assembly leadership elections.
Ortom expressed confidence in the ability of Senator Lawan and Gbajabiamila to effectively steer the affairs of the ninth assembly for the benefit of the entire country.
He said leadership comes from God, citing the Bible book of Job 3:27, which says: ‘A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven’.
June 12 is Part of Our History, Says Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has advised that young Nigerians should be educated on the significance of June 12 anniversary.
The governor stressed that it is through formal education on the importance of the day that the people would appreciate and immortalise the acclaimed winner of the adjudged freest and fairest election in Nigerian history, which the late Moshood Olawale Abiola won.
Speaking at the maiden 2019 national Democracy Day celebration in remembrance of late MKO Abiola, the hero of the annulled June 12, 1993, general election, held at De Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, the governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said: “On June 12, 1993, Nigeria had an election adjudged by the entire world to be the most free and fair and remained so till this moment.”
He said the importance of June 12 should not be lost on Nigerians, adding that parents should drum up its importance to the young ones and its relevance to the democracy Nigerians now enjoy.
“We are here today to continue what Lagos State Government started in 1999. We must thank President Muhammadu Buhari because June 12 is part of our history. We must let our children know the real meaning of June 12. If over 200 million Nigerians do the right thing and maintain their lanes, this country will be great,” he said.
Oyetola Seeks Unity, Selfless Service
Osun State Government in conjunction with the Coalition of Civil Society groups yesterday organised events to mark the June 12 Democracy Day in Osogbo, the state capital.
Speaking at the event, the state Deputy Governor, Benedict Alabi, who represented the state Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has done us proud. He has set a new agenda for socio-economic transformation of the country.
“The declaration of June 12 is an affirmation of the fact that the present administration believes so much in things that can promote unity and peace.
“This is a period of sober reflection on the selfless service and sacrifice made by our heroes to ensure that we remain united and indivisible as a nation.
“As we are celebrating the maiden Democracy Day, we must do everything possible to strengthen the peaceful coexistence and unity of the Nigerian state.”
Ogun Gov Promises to Emulate MKO Abiola’s Virtues
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has assured the people of the state that his administration would consolidate on the legacies and virtues of the presumed winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, by ensuring good governance at all times.
The governor gave the assurance yesterday during the official commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day, when he visited the Abiola’s family house at Oja-Agbo, Gbagura in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Abiodun, who was represented by his Deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, noted that as politicians, part of their responsibilities is to continue the good work that late Abiola pledged to do in the country, adding that the celebration was the actualisation of the struggle of everyone, including those who voted in the annulled 1993 presidential election and the people who still continued the struggle.
He said: “I congratulate you all, and to tell you that our efforts had been rewarded by the confirmation of June 12 as Democracy Day by the federal government.
“Our mantra is good governance; our government would be fair, just and equitable, and this is how we intend to propagate the work of late Chief MKO Abiola.”
Akwa Ibom Gov Urges Unity among Nigerians
As Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to pursuing issues that would affirm the country’s national cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
The governor in a statement issued and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, stressed that there was need to celebrate the day as it deepened the country’s democratic culture since the return to civil rule in 1999.
He said: “Our democracy has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, and Nigerians deserve a pat on the back.
“This occasion calls for re-dedication of ourselves to pursuing those issues that promote national unity and peaceful co- existence.”
Bauchi Gov Praises Abiola’s Exemplary Contribution to Democracy
As Nigerians celebrated the June 12 Democracy Day yesterday, the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, praised the heroism and dynamism of the late MKO Abiola for his exemplary contributions to the evolution of Nigeria’s democracy.
However, Mohammed declared that the best way for his government to celebrate Democracy Day “is to upgrade the living standard of the citizens through the provision of critical infrastructures, ensure sound education and stimulate agricultural growth and qualitative health care for the state citizens.”
In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Dr. Ladan Salihu, and made available to journalists in Bauchi, the governor reminded the people that the vision and mission of his government would be guided by the tradition and values of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
‘Why Ebonyi Didn’t Celebrate Democracy Day’
Ebonyi State Government said it didn’t celebrate June 12 Democracy Day in the state because the state government had a week long activities during the last defunct May Day celebration in the state.
The Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Information and State Orientation, Dr. Ken Uhuo, told THISDAY that though the state government didn’t celebrate it with its usual fanfare at Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium, it also honoured it as a public holiday.
He added that the state Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, represented the state Governor, Chief David Umahi, in Abuja, where President Muhammadu Buhari commemorated the Democracy Day celebration.
According to him, “It (Democracy Day) was observed in Ebonyi State but wasn’t celebrated. The state government observed today (yesterday) as a public holiday. It doesn’t mean that there must be other fanfare to commemorate the celebration as it’s usually done with March pass and other activities.
“You know that the state government held a week-long programme to commemorate May 29 celebration in the state. And the state governor sent his deputy to represent him at the Abuja Democracy Day celebration. Subsequently, we shall continue to key into the new date.”
Uhuo however facilitated with Nigerian heroes and heroines of democracy for their supreme sacrifices during the unfortunate annulment of the June 12 election.
DSS Operatives Stop June 12 Rally in Ibadan
Operatives of the Department of the State Services (DSS) yesterday stopped a mass rally of the Yoruba Summit Group from taking place in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The group, an amalgamation of all sociocultural and self-determination bodies in Yoruba land, had converged on the city to discuss insecurity in the land.
THISDAY learnt that the security operatives in about five buses, who were cladded in black uniform, had arrived in Agodi arcade in front of the state Government House around 7a.m. and condoned off the area to prevent the rally from taking place.
Three people, including sound system operator contracted to provide services at the event, were whisked away to the DSS office at Alesinloye.
Others arrested are a public affairs analyst and the state Coordinator of Oodua Coalition Against Insurgency and Kidnapping in Yoruba land, Dr. Tunde Hamzat, and a female activist simply identified as Princess Oyeronke.
Ohanaeze Commends FG for Honouring Abiola
The pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has commended the federal government for commemorating June 12 and making it a Democracy Day as well as a public holiday.
The organisation noted that nothing was too small to remember those who laid down their lives for democracy.
It suggested that those responsible for the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections, should be placed in the Nigeria Hall of Shame while those that suffered the effect should be in Nigeria Hall of Fame.
In a statement by its deputy spokesman, Chuks Ibegbu, Ohanaeze noted that some elements around the late Chief MKO Abiola worked against June 12 and colluded with the Abacha’s military junta to truncate the swearing in of the winner of the June 12 election.
It, therefore, praised President Muhammadu Buhari for this remarkable recognition but advised him to be a true democrat and shed his military baggage.
The group also congratulated the former Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for his repentance and penitence over his shocking remarks recently that Ndigbo has no right to insist on the 2023 presidency.
It lauded Amaechi for his most recent comment where he showed remorse for the statement credited to him.
He called on Ndigbo to forgive him and remove his name from the Igbo Hall of Shame and called on Igbo political elites not to make disparaging comments against their race no matter the situation, adding that the northern or western and even Niger Delta elites can never do such.